Coronavirus outbreak

Test for Covid-19 antibodies a world first for Singapore

Duke-NUS professor behind test to successfully trace infected person who has recovered

A couple of hundred people in Singapore were infected with Sars in 2003 and this "shadow of Sars", says Professor Wang Linfa of Duke-NUS Medical School, gives the Republic a problem in testing for Covid-19 as the two coronaviruses are 80 per cent sim
A couple of hundred people in Singapore were infected with Sars in 2003 and this "shadow of Sars", says Professor Wang Linfa of Duke-NUS Medical School, gives the Republic a problem in testing for Covid-19 as the two coronaviruses are 80 per cent similar. Targeting the remaining 20 per cent that is different was key in the tests.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Instead of working on a test for the virus, Prof Wang and his team worked to develop a test for antibodies. The virology test indicates if a person has the virus. But once the person has recovered, the virus will not be in the body and he would have
Instead of working on a test for the virus, Prof Wang and his team worked to develop a test for antibodies. The virology test indicates if a person has the virus. But once the person has recovered, the virus will not be in the body and he would have developed antibodies.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Nothing is as important as speed and accuracy when it comes to testing for Covid-19.

It was a test developed locally that helped Singapore trace the source of infection of two Covid-19 clusters here - to one where infection was known to have been transmitted by visitors from Wuhan.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 01, 2020, with the headline 'Test for Covid-19 antibodies a world first for Singapore'. Subscribe